Community Use of Schools

Effective Practices

District School Boards across the province have implemented many practices to help ensure the effectiveness of the Community Use of Schools program at the local level.

Some of the following effective practices may be in place in your community:

Making access free-of-charge for not-for-profit groups

  • Reducing rates for not-for-profit groups  to use school facilities after-hours.
    • Some boards are now making access completely free-of-charge to not-for-profit groups.

Helping users with insurance requirements

  • Removing barriers for users to get the required insurance coverage for use of school space.
    • Some boards have assisted by helping community groups access third-party insurance.

Tracking and monitoring use of space

  • Visiting the schools on occasion to observe programming and check-ins with users.
  • Following up on incidents of concern and no-shows.

Making fee payment as easy as possible for users

  • Implementing  various strategies  to make it easier for local users to pay fees, such as paying online.

Compensating schools for wear and tear

  • Asking schools to identify equipment that can be made available to user groups and assigning fees to each piece of equipment.
  • Consider giving schools a set amount of funding annually. For example, some boards allocate funds for equipment wear and tear based on the number of user groups.

Posting the full list of available facilities to the board's website

  • Providing a publicly accessible list of available facilities help users plan their activities.
  • Include information about the policies and fees associated with the facilities.

Sharing information with other boards about Community Use of Schools

  • Incorporating and learning from effective practices of other school boards, as appropriate, about how they make after-hours use of schools easy and affordable for local community groups.
    • Users benefit when neighbouring school boards work together to adopt similar policies, procedures and cost structures.

Developing reciprocal agreements

  • Developing  joint agreements with municipalities and coterminous boards to provide a seamless offering of facilities to area residents.

Limiting restrictions on use

  • Asking schools to minimize restrictions on usage of space as much as possible, with the understanding that some restrictions are necessary, such as conflicts with school activities, closures, maintenance and renovations.

For more information about Community Use of Schools, please contact your local Ministry of Education Regional Office.